Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t played in a week because of a left shoulder contusion. But things are suddenly looking up for the young slugger.
According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Stanton felt fine after taking batting practice on Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to return to the Marlins’ starting lineup for Thursday night’s series-opener against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
“Stanton hit today, and he said things felt good,” manager Mike Redmond told reporters before Wednesday’s series-finale with the Nationals. “He should be good to go for tomorrow. That’s a good sign, obviously. We all know how important he is to this lineup. That’s good news. He felt better today.”
Stanton was batting just .167 with a .575 OPS in nine games before the injury, but it shouldn’t take him long to get going. The 23-year-old hit .290/.361/.608 with 37 home runs and 86 RBI in 123 games last season.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.